Abstracts of Volume 23 (1/2/3/4) of the Journal of Technology in Human Services

Special Issue:  Web-Based Education in the Human Services: Models, Methods and Best Practices, Edited by Robert MacFadden, Brenda Moore, Marilyn Herie, Dick Schoech


Key Issues in Web-based Education in the Human Services: A Review of the Literature by Brenda Moore

KEYWORDS: Web-based instruction, Online learning, Social work education, Technology in higher education

ABSTRACT: The literature on Web-based education reflects a paradigm shift as hundreds of colleges and universities are offering online courses.  This paper provides an overview of the current literature on Web-based education, including frameworks for analysis.  Key publications on Web-based education in social work and human services are presented.  Attention is given to the theoretical perspectives relevant to Web-based education such as adult learning theories and the shift to a constructivist approach.  This paper concludes with a discussion on related issues such as evaluation, leadership, emotional aspects of Web-based instruction, and teaching practices skills through Web-based technology.


Theoretical Perspectives in Online Pedagogy by Marilyn Herie

KEYWORDS: education theory; pedagogy; constructivist theory; critical pedagogy; instructivist theory

ABSTRACT: Sound pedagogy supported by strong theoretical foundations is of key importance in online learning. Yet because this literature is largely situated in the field of education, it is not always well articulated in human services education. This article provides an overview of major theoretical approaches in the education field and links these with both online learning and human services education, with an emphasis on bridging the gap between theory and practice.


Faculty Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Web-based Instruction in Social Work Education: A National Study by Brenda Moore

KEYWORDS: Perceptions, Web-based instruction, Online learning, Social work education

ABSTRACT: This paper presents the findings of a national study that examined the perceptions of faculty with web-based teaching experience concerning the effectiveness of Web-based instruction as compared to face-to-face instruction in social work education.  The findings suggest that faculty perceived face-to-face instruction to be more effective than Web-based instruction in all curriculum areas.  However, the extent of perceived effectiveness of Web-based instruction varied by curriculum area.  Also, online teaching in areas such as practice was viewed as least effective, suggesting that the traditional “no significant difference’ conclusions between face-to-face and online teaching need to be examined more closely. 


Web-based Higher Education: The Inclusion/Exclusion paradox by Jan Steyaert

KEYWORDS: accessibility, e-learning, electronic learning environments

ABSTRACT: Increasingly, education is delivered through computers and the internet. This article highlights that while such development is beneficial for some students with functional impairments, it might be excluding others if insufficient attention is paid to accessibility. Both the electronic learning environment (Blackboard, WebCT and the like) as well as the content author need to design for accessibility.


Souls on Ice: Incorporating Emotion in Web-Based Education by Robert MacFadden

KEYWORDS:  Online education, web-based education, learning, emotions, affect, feelings

ABSTRACT: Emotions have been neglected in education and online education, in favor of a heavy emphasis on cognition and rationality. This article explores the significance of emotion in learning and how recent research is identifying some pathways and dynamics in the way emotions impact on learning and on web-based learning. Online learners have not been considered as “emotional beings” and web-based education has not addressed this dimension in any significant way. A constructivist, emotionally-oriented (CEO) model of web-based education is introduced which emphasizes safety, challenge and new thinking and several strategies to enhance the emotional experience of learners are offered.


The Campus Alberta Applied Psychology Counselling Initiative:  Web-based Delivery of a Graduate Professional Training Program by Sandra Collins and Paul Jerry

KEYWORDS: Online learning, distance delivery, program development, counsellor education.

ABSTRACT: The Campus Alberta Applied Psychology Counselling Initiative is a collaboration between three universities in western Canada to offer a predominantly Web-based Master of Counselling program. This paper describes the basic structure of the program, the Web-based delivery system, communication tools employed, and the philosophical, pedagogical, programmatic, and administrative principles and concepts foundation to the development and implementation. Development of curricular content and learning processes have been driven by explicit examination of learner needs, a program-level competency matrix reflective of professional practice standards in the discipline of psychology, and deliberate and continuous formative evaluation and learner engagement in the process.


A Tale of Three Cities: Teaching Online to Students in Shanghai from Hong Kong and Texas by Y.C. Wong and Dick Schoech

KEYWORDS:  Online education, chatroom teaching, cross-cultural teaching online, multinational teaching

ABSTRACT: The University of Hong Kong collaborated with the Fudan University in Shanghai to offer a Master of Social Service Management (MSSM) part-time degree for students in Shanghai. While most courses of the program were taught by instructors sent from Hong Kong and other overseas countries on weekends and holidays, the “Information and Communication Technology in Social Service Organizations” course was offered online and supplemented by several face-to-face sessions. Instructors in Texas and Hong Kong collaborated and offered the course to the students in Shanghai. Teaching and learning online was a completely new experience for the students. Technical, social, cultural, and linguistic issues arose throughout the four months during which the course was offered. This paper shares the teaching experience and reflection of the instructors as well as the learning outcome and evaluation of the students.


Internationalizing Social Work Education using Blackboard 6: IHOLLAND University, NL & James Madison University, USA by Karen Ford and Rina J. Rotgans-Visser

KEYWORDS: International social work, technology, distance education, Blackboard, community building

ABSTRACT: Creating, delivering and evaluating pilot course in two countries and at two universities via Blackboard 6 presents pedagogical, cultural and technological challenges as well as many rewards. The developmental process and negotiations required by both universities to bring the course to fruition are explored including faculty workload, interactivity requirements connected to the course and credit assignment. The concepts of community building and cultural awareness are explored from faculty and students perspectives. Evaluation by the students and next steps from the developers’ perspectives are important components supporting the efficacy of this approach.


A Child Welfare Course for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Students:  Pedagogical and Technical Challenges by Jacquie Rice-Green and Gary C. Dumbrill

KEYWORDS: Web-based learning, Indigenous Knowledge, Child Welfare, Pedagogy, Social Work Education

ABSTRACT: This chapter describes the development of a Web-based undergraduate child welfare course for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners.  Rather than simply incorporate an Aboriginal perspective into Eurocentric pedagogies and course structures, the authors disrupt the dominance of Western ways of knowing in education by designing the course to situate Western knowledge as a way of knowing rather than the way of knowing and the frame from with all other perspectives are understood.  In this research the authors describe the differences between Aboriginal and European thought and reveal how Web-based courses can be designed in ways that do not perpetuate Eurocentrism.


Web-based Education in the Human Services: Use of Web-based Video Clips in Counselling Skills Training by Paul Jerry and Sandra Collins

KEYWORDS: Counsellor Education; Web-Based Learning; Video; Counselling Psychology

ABSTRACT: This use of web-based video clips for counsellor skills training is used in the Campus Alberta Applied Psychology: Counselling Initiative which provides Master’s-level counsellor education at a distance. The core counselling skills course is delivered through the Web using digital video clips of counselling skills demonstrations, chat room skills practice and weekly discussion forums. A follow-up face-to-face Summer Institute allows learners to receive live feedback on their skill development. Course content is grounded in the construct of the working alliance (Bordin, 1979). Course activities use Bloom’s taxonomies of learning objectives. Program evaluation suggests that learners are meeting competencies as they move from this course to practicum placements.


Building a Predominantly Web-based Course From Face-to-face and Interactive Video Pilots: Administrative Skills for Social Work Practice by Paul P. Freddolino and David G. Knaggs

KEYWORDS: Internet-based instruction, videoconferencing, online learning, social work macro practice

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the design, development, pilot, and revision of a predominantly web-based macro social work practice course on administrative skills required for all MSW students at Michigan State University, a Research I, land grant university.  The course was intentionally developed in stages, first in a face-to-face (F2F) and interactive video (ITV) setting and then predominantly online after content revision and update.  The course uses streamed videotaped lectures as a central teaching format, with extensive use of discussion boards and other interactive tools.  The contributions made by the F2F and ITV iteration will be highlighted, along with lessons learned from multiple online replications.


Field Clusters On Line by Suzanne Bushfield

KEYWORDS:  field instruction, on-line courses, integrative learning, discussion Boards

ABSTRACT: Social Work education relies heavily on agency-based field instruction to assist students in developing skills, and in integrating theory, practice, and research. Web-based components of field instruction may offer advantages in the integrative process, which relies on reflection, responsive communication, and feedback.  Using an on-line format for the integrative field seminar, a new MSW advanced generalist program in a large metropolitan area implemented an experimental model for delivery of field seminars.  Results indicate high student satisfaction, greater depth of discussion, improved student involvement, and integration of learning in field.


Student perspectives of online discussions by Timothy Barnett-Queen, Robert Blair, Melissa Merrick

KEYWORDS: asynchronous discussions, online discussions, online pedagogy

ABSTRACT: Limited research exists that examines student perceptions of online discussions in fully online classes. This is a report of initial investigation into undergraduate distance education majors’ perspectives of the pedagogical value of online discussions.  Over a two semester period (Spring and Fall, 2003), students taking the same online course delivered using Web Course Tools (WebCT) were surveyed regarding opinions of online discussions. The students surveyed were undergraduate students enrolled in a fully online degree program at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Although limitations exist due to small sample size and a non-standardized data collection instrument, findings from this exploratory study offer insight into undergraduate distance education student opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of online discussions as a pedagogical tool.


Social Work Ethics On-Line: Reflective Learning by Marilyn A. Biggerstaff

KEYWORDS: Online Learning, Reflective Learning, Social Work Ethics

ABSTRACT: Using e-learning (Blackboard™), a course in ethics promotes reflective learning and critical thinking skills for graduate social work students as participants in an on-learning experience. Reflective learning, based on Schön’s (1983) “reflective inquiry,” is facilitated with participants’ engagement in weekly case-based discussion of ethical and legal concepts. The internet course exemplifies the principle of “say-writing” (Wegerif, 1998) as an effective strategy for promoting reflective learning.


Translating Research into Practice: The Role of Web-Based Education by Kenneth R. Weingardt and Steven W. Villafranca

KEYWORDS: Clinical Practice Guideline, Web-Based Intervention, E-Learning

ABSTRACT: Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) constitute a major focus of recent efforts to narrow the gap between research and practice.  However, CBGs cannot effectively change clinical practice unless they are effectively disseminated.  The present article describes a web-based course designed teach nurses about a CPG for the management of alcohol withdrawal.  In it, we outline the details of our web-based course, including its technical characteristics, organization, structure, and clinical content. Next, we outline several adjunctive strategies that may improve the effectiveness of  such web-based educational interventions.  Finally, we discuss other ways that web-based education may prove useful in disseminating evidence-based practices in human service delivery settings.


Working Across the Disciplines/Shifting Perspectives: Student experiences with an online course focused on interdisciplinary practice with children and families by Patricia A. MacKenzie and Dora Leigh Bjornson

KEYWORDS: Distance learning, social work education, online courses, web-based education, instructional technology

ABSTRACT: As more universities and other places of higher learning respond to the changing needs of the community-bound learner, new technologies are being harnessed to shift the delivery of historically “classroom-bound” programs to alternate and more universally accessible formats. This article describes how an online course uses interactive exercises to engage students in mutual exploration of cross and/or interdisciplinary work.  The course serves students from various professional schools, including social work, child and youth care, nursing, and education.  Through the use of online discussion and case-study role-plays, it facilitates an experiential learning environment that is reflective of the student’s own practice in a learning setting.


Evaluating the Efficacy of Traditional and Web-Assisted Instruction in An Undergraduate Social Work Practice Class by Helen Petracchi, Gayle Mallinger, Rafael Engel, Carrie W. Rishel, Carol Washburn

KEYWORDS: web-assisted instruction, practice, teaching, technology

ABSTRACT: This article addresses the dearth of research utilizing a quasi-experimental design and student performance measures in assessing web-assisted instruction in social work undergraduate practice courses.  Social work students were randomly placed into two sections of a practice course.  The experimental section (n=18) students received 50% of course lectures with web-assisted instruction while the comparison class (n=18) received identical lectures delivered in traditional face-to-face format.  There were no statistically significant differences on assignments, the midterm exam and a final videotaped exam project between the two sections.   These results suggest students in an undergraduate social work practice course learn similarly regardless of course format.


Compendium (Brief Web-Based Course Descriptions)

  1. Acker “The Legal Environment of Social Work Practice”

  2. Barnett-Queen “Human Behavior and Social Systems”

  3. MacKenzie “Interdisciplinary Practice with Children and Families”

  4. Quinn “Human Behavior in the Social Environment”

  5. Ross “Survey of Research Methodology”

  6. Schoech “Advanced Use of IT in Human Services